Tag Archives: writing

My Reasons for Writing

One of my cousins from across the miles posed a couple of great questions, giving me food for thought. He asked:

Why do you write? And why do you write about the family?

My answer to him:

First of all, I write because I know I have a story to tell. As a kid, eventually I discovered we were dirt poor. In my teens looking back, I realized that I was neglected and forced to grow up too fast. I was ashamed of my childhood and bitter for being my mama’s mother. As I “matured,” settled down, married and had children of my own, along the way I found I was a stronger person because of some of the things that I endured as a child.

Once I embraced the God of my grandparents, I became a much better person, too. NOT that I had it all together; I still had a few things to learn. But I learned that it was much better to let go of the bitterness and to forgive, than to hold onto the junk.

I also learned that I didn’t have to be a product of my environment! I could rise above the ashes like a phoenix and become so much better. That was my freedom — still is — and God has called us to liberty, not to be in prison. Sure I made some mistakes along the way, but I learned from them as well. It starts with a made-up mind! While I’ve managed to confront my past, I believe my past hasn’t spoiled me, but has prepared me for the future. I may not be perfect but whenever I stumble, I can wipe the crud off and walk on. I share my story that I might help one person – and if I have done that then I have done a good thing and God gets the glory. Photo Credit: LifeOverCancerBlog.typepad.com

I mention family because the little girl growing up — although she may have felt like she was all alone most times — was not an orphan and did not live on an island unto herself. There were others around who helped to nurture her in one fashion or another, even, the antagonists in her story. And yes, some were heroes. She cannot tell her story without mentioning those she looked up to. For it to be truthful, she had to address some real and raw emotions and mentioned the flaws — the good, the bad and the ugly.

The story is not fiction. It is written how she remembers the events that took shape in her life as a child, a teenager and into her adulthood. All the memories do not take her to a happy place. She has had to dig deep to find them. To some, those “happy” places may be simple and insignificant, but to her they were her life-line.

His response:  

I am keeping this to remind me what it takes to be selfless.

 Thanks 

CD

I did not expect THAT answer 

© M.A. Perez 2017, All Rights Reserved

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Filed under Memoir, writing

The truth behind Mary A. Pérez’s autobiography

My interview by the talented and fabulous Ella Ritchie of Stellar Communications Houston.

Stellar Communications Houston

You may know Mary A. Pérez as the author of Running in Heels: A Memoir of Grit and Grace, her incredible true story of survival and forgiveness against all odds.

blog image 4 The author chatting with a new fan at a Kroger book signing

If you don’t, then let us fill in you in. Somewhere between stealing cold cuts from stray cats and watching a stranger leave her mother’s bed after breaking in through their bedroom window, Mary figured out that her family was dirt poor. Worse than her empty stomach, she was hungry for acceptance and love in the shadows of her mother’s choices and on through an abusive marriage.

Running in Heels: A Memoir of Grit and Grace is Mary’s promise of hope for anyone who was abandoned as a child, for anyone who woke up hungry and went to bed hungrier every day, and for every wife who has…

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Glamorous? Not so Much: My Life as an Author

12932601_1167941376590318_6157266493608052874_n2.jpgI published my memoirs just last year. I’ve been fortunate enough to meet some really fine people along the way, people who’ve become fans of my work. I am thrilled when they ask for my autograph and want their pictures taken with me. I love feedback. I am touched when a reader shares how my story has inspired them. I feel honored and validated. Sure it feeds my ego; it blows me away. And when I’m asked to attend a speaking engagement, a book club, or ladies’ conference, it’s such a humbling experience and never ceases to amaze me. But if I’m honest, stress also comes with the territory. I may tend to be a nervous wreck at times, and even lose my train of thought. I confess I don’t know what you see in me; I certainly haven’t forgotten from whence I’ve come from. I still notice my flaws. Don’t laugh, but I don’t even like watching myself on video, let alone listening to myself by audio.

This is all still a learning curve for me. You see: there’s a huge difference between writing and public speaking. In writing, I can structure sentences and reword phrases and paragraphs without interruptions to my heart’s content with pen and paper, or on the keyboard. I would venture to say that I am not the only wordsmith who feels this way. There are many other writers and authors out there just like me. We are not all best-selling authors. The truth is an author’s life is not all glamorous. Neither will there be warm and fuzzy feelings in reading a not-so-good book review about your work, (ask any author about that). We are mostly normal individuals–some more successful and polished than others–but none of us are perfect. We all go home and try to maintain a decent life in every way possible.

My life isn’t always about sitting pretty on top of the world riding high horses. My husband is a general contractor whose hands are rough because he prefers doing the majority of the projects himself. This line of work is abased and abound. Although his knees and back suffer the consequences and take on a beating, he takes pride in his craft. He is meticulous and thoroughly enjoys the work. Our eldest daughter is his faithful assistant. When she is not out on the field with him, she assists me with my writing projects in promoting my book. She is quite savvy in the social media department, as well as being my traveling companion to monthly book signings. I appreciate her. She is the lady behind the camera who makes me look good.

I myself hold a full-time, 45 hour a week sales job answering calls all day. My mind sometimes wanders wishing I was writing or vacationing, but alas, reality hits me in the rear and I have work to do! Believe it or not, my family and I also provide 24-hour care to a precious 105-year-old saint of God. In caring for her, we definitely don’t want to cause her any additional discomfort or needless pain. But as we tend to her personal needs such as in lifting, bathing and changing an adult, much more fragile than before, it’s neither easy nor always pleasant. Some years ago we made a pact. We promised Elizabeth we’d care for her to the best of our abilities until the end. Not everyone can do this. I believe God gives us the grace to do so. I’ve written about Elizabeth before. She teaches me about life. She is God’s gift to us, but she swears it’s the other way around.

So what am I saying? An author’s life is not necessarily all glamorous. What is it then, you ask? I will tell you since becoming a published author; I have found it quite rewarding and so fulfilling.

While sharing my story, time after time I’ve noticed that many are brought to tears. And then as I listen to their heart, my own tears flow. Is it planned? No. It just happens. Tears bring a sweet release and cleanse the soul. Oh, it’s easy to laugh with others (and I do love to laugh). But when was the last time you wept with someone? When was the last time you’ve impacted someone and knew you’ve made a difference in his or her life? I have also shed tears of joy. Then my makeup runs, which leads me having to freshen up before my daughter happily snaps away with her camera.

Yes, my life may not be as glamorous as you would think, but my life has been enriched.

This is my joy. This is my passion.

I remain grateful for all who have been part of my journey.

© M.A. Pérez 2016, All Rights Reserved

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About "Running in Heels: A Memoir of Grit & Grace"

14 Comments

Filed under Author, Book Running in Heels, Memoir, Thankfulness, writing, Writing Journey

My Story

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One of my cousins from across the miles posed a couple of great questions, giving me food for thought. He asked:

Why do you write? And why do you write about the family?

My answer to him:

First of all, I write because I know I have a story to tell. As a kid, eventually I discovered we were dirt poor. In my teens looking back, I realized that I was neglected and forced to grow up too fast. I was ashamed of my childhood and bitter for being my mama’s mother. As I “matured,” settled down, married and had children of my own, along the way I found I was a stronger person because of some of the things that I endured as a child. Once I embraced the God of my grandparents, I became a much better person, too. NOT that I had it all together; I still had a few things to learn. But I learned that it was much better to let go of the bitterness and to forgive, than to hold onto the junk. I also learned that I didn’t have to be a product of my environment! I could rise above the ashes like a phoenix and become so much better. That was my freedom — still is — and God has called us to liberty, not to be in prison. Sure I made some mistakes along the way, but I learned from them as well. It starts with a made-up mind! While I’ve managed to confront my past, I believe my past hasn’t spoiled me, but has prepared me for the future. I may not be perfect but whenever I stumble, I can wipe the crud off and walk on. I share my story that I might help one person – and if I have done that then I have done a good thing and God gets the glory.

I mention family because the little girl growing up — although she may have felt like she was all alone most times — was not an orphan and did not live on an island unto herself. There were others around who helped to nurture her in one fashion or another, even, the antagonists in her story. And yes, some were heroes. She cannot tell her story without mentioning those she looked up to. For it to be truthful, she had to address some real and raw emotions and mentioned the flaws — the good, the bad and the ugly.

The story is not fiction. It is written how she remembers the events that took shape in her life as a child, a teenager and into her adulthood. All the memories do not take her to a happy place. She has had to dig deep to find them. To some, those “happy” places may be simple and insignificant, but to her, they were her life-line.

His response:

I am keeping this to remind me what it takes to be selfless.

 Thanks 

CD

I did not expect THAT answer 🙂

© M.A. Perez 2014, All Rights Reserved

 

 

About "Running in Heels: A Memoir of Grit & Grace"

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Filed under Inspirational, Memoir, Running in Heels

Author Interview: Mary A. Pérez

I wish to thank Eleanor Parker Sapia for graciously interviewing me and helping me share my message of survival against all odds!

The Writing Life Blog

The Writing Life is pleased to welcome Mary A. Pérez, author of ‘Running in Heels: A Memoir of Grit and Grace’, her debut memoir of the turbulent and uncertain childhood she survived.

mary a perez

Born in the Bronx, raised in Miami, relocated to Houston – Mary is of Puerto Rican descent, a mother to four grown children, “Mimi” to a couple of gorgeous grandchildren, and happily married (the second time around) to a phenomenal man for twenty-one years.

Mary was born to a Puerto Rican immigrant family in the Bronx of New York and moved to Miami, Florida in 1962. Her childhood story played out against the backdrop of constant social change which defined the 1960s and forever altered the landscape for future generations. With political tensions of the time raging during the Vietnam War, there was a personal war within Mary’s own family dominating her life. Her future held little hope…

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Full Circle – My Writing Journey

11750720_1017090005008790_4728723792586052925_nHey guys! Today I feel I have come full circle. It’s surreal that I am sitting here doing a book signing at the same Barnes and Noble, where I first attended a weekly writers group two years before my story published.

Back then, I’d sit with many seasoned writers and talented published authors, wondering if my day would ever come that my own dream would fulfill and to declare: I AM AN AUTHOR!

Once a week, I’d bring 5 pages of my manuscript and make several copies (enough for 10-15 other attendees) before arriving to the group. I passed around my copies to every one there, and someone would volunteer to read aloud. As I listened, the rest added notes, made corrections, suggestions and/or comments on my sheets. Then it was someone else’s turn to critique. I enjoyed doing that but I couldn’t wait to take my work home and sit in front of the computer to see what–if any–changes I should make.

I’ve met some wonderful people I consider friends to this day, and received great feedback which only helped propelled me forward. Looking back, I am thankful that I didn’t give up. I took constructive criticism; I stayed the course. I kept my voice as well as my message. If I couldn’t quite convey the meaning in my sentences correctly, I welcomed suggestions. However, if someone didn’t get my meaning but added their own take instead–which meant changing the entire contents from what I initially believed how it should read–I’d reworked the sentence, paragraph or phrase to express better what I wanted to say, or left it alone.

I believe you have to stay true to who you are. After all, it’s your story and in my case, wasn’t one of fiction. Therefore, only you can tap into your own mind filled with memories and jot down those scenes and sequels in your head. May not always be an easy feat, but oh, can be so worth it!

So for those of you who haven’t read my story, just what is the message? My message is one of hope, perseverance and forgiveness. You don’t have to be a product of your environment and have your past dictate your future. Know that you don’t have to remain isolated or medicate yourself, nor do you need to become ashamed of your pain. You can rise above the ashes and soar to new heights bruised or scarred, and not remain broken. I believe there is healing for us all; it’s a work in progress and sometimes takes a while. But where there is life, there is hope.

The fruition of my entire journey, is to hear that others are inspired.

My story, “Running in Heels: A Memoir of Grit and Grace” is currently found at your favorite online bookstore.

Here are a few photos taken at Barnes and Noble for you to enjoy. Two hours went by so quickly!

Thank you for taking part in my journey.

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Filed under Author, Book Signing Event, Writing Journey

Out of My Comfort Zone

Several years ago, the desire to write my memoirs conceived. I didn’t know how far it would go or what the outcome would be. That didn’t matter to me because the more I wrote, the more the desire grew. The passion to complete the journey burned from within.

I never imagined the outcome. But I know now, God was in it.

After writing a couple of years on my own, I started mentioning what I was doing to some people and received some great advice and direction. Like a sponge I soaked in all the info I could and soon realized that I needed to join others with the same passion. I started visiting writing groups and even joined a couple. Every week, I took notes, listened to critiques, shared ideas and discussed scenes and sequels. I entered a few contests and some writing essays. I knew then that I had a story to share that would inspire others.

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I also learned that I needed a writers’ platform, so I started a Facebook fan page, a blog website, and finally, a Twitter account. Along this journey I’ve met some awesome talented people face to face, as well as through social media.


 

The time has come where I am definitely way out of my comfort zone. Matter of fact, as I timidly began this writing journey, wading into the water, it quickly went from ankle-deep to knee-deep. And the water continues to rise.

 

I am not perfect. I’m not some superwoman with super powers able to leap tall buildings in a single bound. I am just like you. I know my weaknesses and my limitations. But I am ready to go to the next level, and I daresay I go not alone. God has given me resiliency. He has given me favor and is opening doors. As I rely on Him–more now than ever–He sends the right people at the right time. Each one holds a special place in my heart and has touched me in different ways. Some plant and some water, but God gives the increase. I don’t take this experience lightly or for granted.

I had a dream. I never dreamt it would go this far.

I am about to give birth to my dream. Soon my first book, “Running in Heels: A Memoir of Grit and Grace” launches. In just a few days I will hold my books that I call my babies in my hands. For starters, I will attend book signings, blog tours, radio interviews, conferences, and speaking engagements. I may not know where all I’m going, but I remember where I once was. And that’s enough.

Do you have a dream? Does something take you out of your comfort zone? That means you are growing, stretching and bettering yourself. Does it scare the hell out of you? Good.

Go for it. If I can, you can. Reach for the stars. The sky’s the limit.

© M.A. Pérez 2015, All Rights Reserved

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Filed under memoir book project, Writing Journey

Publishing Update

Hi y’all! My community, or my “tribe” — as Michael Hyatt and Jeff Goins would say — is steadily growing, which is pretty exciting whenever I view my stats. I treasure each and every one of my followers, readers, and commenters. Rest assure, I appreciate you taking the time to stop by and that I do read each and every one of your comments, even though I may not respond to all right away. I’ve been touched, moved to tears, made to smile, been encouraged and blanketed by warm fuzziness from you (did that make sense?) throughout this blogging journey about my memoirs!

To give you an update, I am honored to announce Chart House Press and I have joined forces and my book launches sometime in January 2015! Whoo-Hoo! We’re going over the book cover design. I will post the ideas as soon as I get them. I may need your help and will ask you to cast your vote.

I have received such wonderful and positive feedback, realizing I’ve not been alone during this entire process. You have encouraged me time after time, and I just wanted you to know that I am forever grateful and together we shall continue this journey.

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© M.A. Pérez 2014, All Rights Reserved

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Filed under Author, book project

Why Do I Write?

I write that I might inspire, encourage, and inform. But I also write for the same reason:

  a canary sings in its cage

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an acorn grows into a shaded oak tree

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a waddling duckling matures into a graceful swan

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a caterpillar morphs into a beautiful butterfly

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a daydream turns into reality

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contented cats purr

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a bud blossoms into a beautiful rose

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a mountain goat climbs the Rockies

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a ripple of water forms into a majestic wave

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an eagle spreads its wings and soars

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a child dances in the rain

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© M.A. Pérez 2014, All Rights Reserved

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Filed under Blogging, writing

In the Thrill of It All

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Once again, my birthday was planned by my beautiful and creative daughter, Anna Marie. She has always believed and supported my writing endeavors that I’ve started calling her my publicist. While I was on vacation, back home she rallied up my hubby, her siblings, as well as secretly contacted my list of friends. (I believe she even hacked into my FaceBook account, for goodness sakes!) The outcome being a wonderful, surprised birthday celebration for yours truly.

To my delight, I realized that my daughter planned out a theme for my birthday this year to honor me. She centered the theme with “Running in Heels,” my working title of my completed memoir. She designed and printed out bookmarks, created a decorated donation box, and had taken up a collection from donators who believe in my work.

This cloud-nine feeling by such love, the support and all that took place was surreal. I can’t imagine EVER getting used to having people who truly are fans, and those who faithfully remain in my corner, while cheer-leading me onward towards the finish-line. I have been deeply touched and I am grateful. But my work is not yet over.

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Yes, I am the author of this story. I lived and survived those years. I wrote the words on the pages through hours upon hours, throughout the night when sleep escaped me, and upon every available moment when at home in front of the computer or jotting down on a writing tablet. To my dear friends and family who have made this birthday gal feel loved and special, to the readers and fellow-bloggers who’ve encouraged my work, and to my supporters who went and will continue to go above and beyond, words cannot express the gratitude that is in my heart. Together we shall make a difference. Together we shall see this project completed.

From my heart to yours one beat at a time.

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© M.A. Pérez 2014, All Rights Reserved

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Filed under Birthday, memoir book project